This week we’re re-releasing a new program call the SUPER HERO Workout.
I am super excited about it, and so I thought that it would be a good idea to start the week off with a fun discussion that would allow us to talk about everything related to superheroes in a way that we can all relate to, and which related to the program: movies.
Since SHW is, in large part, designed to help you look like a Super Hero on the big screen, it made perfect sense to start with off by talking about a new movie based on a comic here.
To that end, my plan was to see the latest Super Hero movie and write a blog post about how it related to life, fitness, and everything in between.
My plan was clever.
My plan was well thought out.
My plan was…foiled. Curses!
Yes. Foiled. Because although my plan was perfectly executed, it failed…because the movie itself failed.
This weekend, I saw the new Spider-man movie. Now, it’s called The Amazing Spider-Man, but really, I think it’s a fair statement that a more appropriate moniker would have been The Mediocre Spider-Man. Another way of going would be the Meh Spider-Man. Or I guess, most appropriately, the I mean, I Guess if You’re Not Doing Anything Else and Just Feel Like Seeing a Movie Spider-Man.
Are you getting that I didn’t really enjoy the movie? Unfortunately, that was the case…and that ruined my day. Now, before I go on a rambling diatribe about why Spider-Man was a lousy movie, I want to give you some context so that you can understand why this is worthy of a blog post.
You see, I just hate when super hero movies are bad. It really, really bothers me…because Super Heroes are really, really important to me.
My obsession with superheroes has guided me for much of my life. From the time I was a just a wittle –bitty baby Roman, from the moment I could comprehend what superheroes were, I wanted to be one—and that was pretty damn early in my life. It started at about four years old.
Photo evidence below:
I have always been so completely drawn inspired by the very idea of what being a super hero mean: the idea of being larger than life, stronger than anyone else; the idea of being able to do things that others could not; the idea of having powers…and using them for the greater good, for something beyond yourself.
This manifested itself in everything I did and was involved in: first reading comics, which in turn influenced books I read and he cartoons that I watched (including the 90’s era X-men, which I to this day posit is one of the greatest cartoons of all time).
Super Heroes even influenced the way I celebrated my birthday, for years.
For my fifth birthday, I had a Batman cake:
Pretty cool, right? Well, not as cool as my sixth birthday, when I had a Superman cake.
Firstly, let’s appreciate that my mother baked and decorated those cakes—hats off to Momma Roman. Let’s also just acknowledge that this trend would continue for another four years, and would culminate with a Wolverine cake on my 10th birthday. (Sorry, couldn’t find pics.)
It didn’t stop at books and birthday cakes; as I’ve mentioned a few times in my previous writing, super heroes were one of the sources I drew inspiration from when I first began my fitness journey—wanting to look like a super hero is a feeling that pulled me into the gym, and one that has never really left.
And so, now that you know a bit about my history, as we begin superhero week, you understand why I find super heroes so magical, and why, when this doesn’t apply to Superhero movies, I get upset.
For the most part, Hollywood has done a really great job.
I think that, particularly a number of superhero movies have been standout as great movies – not just great superhero movies. For example, the very first X-Men movie, the Blade trilogy. Two of my favorites were the Sam Raimi interpretations of Spider-man. The first two were not just great superhero movies, but they were great movies overall.
Unfortunately, that is not the case with the new Spider-man movie. This makes even more upset, since Spidey has always been one of my favorite characters—and that’s what makes today’s post so hard to write.
Let me start by saying, right off that bat, that I saw The Amazing Spider-man with a completely open mind. Like all comic nerds, I watched the trailers, got drawn into the lead up of the marketing, and was pumped for the movie.
Now, while I was thoroughly disappointed, I would never say, “don’t see this movie.” Firstly, if you said that to me, I’d see it anyway, because it’s fucking Spider-man and I can’t not see it. I expect you’re the same way.
Secondly, as I mentioned, even though it’s a terrible Superhero movie, it still has a guy with super powers, a hot girl, violence, and explosion; so, really, why not?
With that said, let’s move on to the main event.
(NOTE – for those of you who haven’t seen it, I have attempted to avoid spoilers; however, if you’re gonna be all whiney about a possible plot points being given away in a post about why a movie is bad, well, perhaps you should rethink your decision.)
I really, really hate to be making this argument. I do. I never wanted to one of those meatheads in the movie theater looking at an actor on screen—someone who is doing a job and has mastered a skill in a way far beyond me—and judging them for not hitting the gym.
Speaking generally, I have always been of the mind that I’d rather see a movie starring good actor to with a less than awesome physique than a less than awesome actor with a great physique. I just think that makes for better films.
And the best of both worlds, of course, is when a good actor develops his body a bit and actually looks the part—and sometimes, the role really does require that to sell both the character and the movie as a whole. This is usually the case with Super Hero movies.
Developed physiques are required to complete the package, to fulfill the promise. When I read comic books when I was a kid, I was inspired by their physiques – I wanted to look like Batman, or Superman, or Wolverine. While I realize now that those were nearly impossible goals, I still believe there’s something pristine about the projection of an ideal physical that you want to strive for.
One of the things I have liked about superhero movies, especially the more recent few, is how this has been projected on the screen; another facet to Superhero movies that has become important, and inspires both feeling and discussion: actors get in pretty amazing shape for these movies. I should know; I help them do it.
Unfortunately, Andrew Garfield didn’t get the memo.
Physically, Garfield is simply doesn’t bring to mind a superhero; incredibly skinny and a bit gawky. Now, I’ll admit that in the newer version of the comics, particularly the Ultimate storyline, Parker is presented as sort of a gangly kid. And in general, Spider-Man has never been as large as characters like Thor. However, this goes beyond just looking a bit too thin—it crosses the line and begins to make the character seem less realistic.
As a hero, he should be physically inspiring, and he should look like he has some muscle and can actually compete with villains. In this interpretation, he is not inspiring or intimidating.
As an actor, it immediately implies Garfield’s lack of dedication to the role and his craft.
This is annoying to me because I know how hard other actors work to fill out their costumes. Just sticking with Spider-Man, back in 2002,Toby McGuire, who is traditionally 130 pounds, got pretty jacked for his role as the web-slinger. He didn’t get so enormous that it stopped making sense for the character, but went out of his way to kick ass and get in shape for his shirtless scene. It was a thing.
Not only did McGuire look the part, but he got a lot of attention for the transformation—and in turn, inspired people in a completely different way. And this is the real issue with Garfield’s lack of physical development; his complete lack of physicality: not only does it damage the character and the story, but it removes inspiration…and that’s one of the most important things about superheroes.
Again, would rather have a good actor than someone who got the part because they’re in good shape…I just found this disappointing. It was a terrible remake for that reason among many others.
Garfield really should’ve at least gone through The SUPER HERO Workout.
Probably the most significant aspect of any superhero story is the origin on the character—how did he come to be? How did he acquire his powers? The circumstances through which the hero becomes more than a man are important, for they set the tone for the perception of the character.
If the circumstances are not relatable, it is difficult to relate to the character; for example, Superman is widely considered to be the most untreatable superhero—so much so that he is considered “boring.”
The reason for this is twofold: firstly, Superman is essentially godlike, and most people can’t relate to being a god. Secondly, and more relevant to this conversation, is that Superman didn’t have to earn or acquire his powers, but was simply born with them. His entire spectrum of abilities comes from the yellow sun; all he had to do was show up.
We generally can’t relate to the idea of being born with so much handed to us, let alone everything that superman has. Think about it; in addition to being the strongest and fastest guy on the planet, who can also fly, and just happens to be invincible…he also happens to have been blessed with exceptional good looks, but human standards. Oh, and the people who found him are a perfect family. Hard to relate, right?
Now, if you look at other superheroes, the more relatable ones, you’ll see that one of the hallmarks of the superhero origin story is that there powers come as a result of a set of circumstances that they generally do not seek or cannot control. In many cases, they discover their powers through no fault of their own, or are exposed to something through no fault of their own that encourages them to seek power.
Additionally, many superheroes have their origin occur in a way that brings out the best in them—but that something was already there. Steve Rogers was already brace, intelligent honorable and resourceful—he was great internally; the supersoldier serum he was exposed to allowed him to become great externally and become Captain America.
Along similar lines, depending on which version of the comics you’re following, Bruce Banner used his own body to shield someone else’s, and was exposed to the high doses of Gamma radiation that turned him into the Hulk.
Well, let’s look at these concepts as they apply to Spider-Man.
In the originally Spider-Man story, Peter Parker is hanging out at a science fair and is bit by a radioactive spider. This much you have seen in the every of renditions of the story…until The Amazing Spider-Man, that is; in this version of the origin story, Peter is still bitten by an enhanced spider—that much remains unchanged. What IS changed is the situation when he’s bitten.
Rather than hanging out at a science fair, Parker is in the Oscorp building. As story changes go, this much makes sense; what doesn’t sit well with me is how Peter runs into the fated Arachnid.
Instead of getting bit because he simply happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time…he forced his way into the wrong place. Or, if you’ll forgive the spoiler alerts—he was snooping around. Not just snooping: breaking and entering.
That isn’t a joke or exaggeration. Peter literally breaks into a lab, whereupon he encounters and is bit by the powerful spider. He comes to his powers through underhanded means – and that is not inspiring, it’s awful. While I’ll mention that he was searching for clues about his parents, those who would receive power for justice do not get it because they’re breaking and entering.
Of course, to some of you, this may seem like a small thing. And certainly, I understand that they are within their rights to change the origin story a bit. That’s fine. However, while I wouldn’t consider myself a purist, as long time fan of comic books in general and Spider-man in specific, I really found myself rankled, at the change itself. The idea that his encounter came as the result of a negative trait is offensive to me on some nerdy level that I can’t full articulate.
In comic books, superheroes almost always get their power from no fault of their own; they are not seeking them, and just happened to be part of an event that changes them.
On the other hand, there are origin stories of those who are seeking something for personal use and wind up with powers…they are usually villains. Anytime a power is acquired as the result of an undesirable or negative quality—greed, envy, rage, lust for power—the recipient is usually a bad guy.
Now, I’m obviously making generalizations, and on top of that I’m being a little nitpicky. Still, the change speaks to a certain shift in the interpretation of the character as a whole.
Which leads me to the next problem.
The largest issue with the movie is the way Pater Parker presented as a character. Specifically, there’s no evolution at all—he’s essentially the same guy in the beginning as he was in the end.
That in and of itself wouldn’t be so bad if he wasn’t such a brat.
Let me explain: in this version of the films, Peter Park isn’t a geeky science nerd who gets bullied, and then has a radical life-transformation when he becomes Spider-Man. In this version, Parker is snarky and mildly condescending, and stands up to bullies from the outset.
This makes it hard to identify with him, because, as I said, the origin story is the part where you identify with the hero. Since he’s such a pain in the ass, that’s real difficult to do.
He starts out a pain, he ends up a pain…and in between, he doesn’t really learn any lessons. Peter and Spider-Man do their thing, but there is no really aspect of glory, no apotheotic moment of realization where he understands that with great power comes responsibility.
In an effort to keep Parker from looking too “nerdy,” they made changes to the fundamentals of his character which, had they not eliminated the need for evolution, might not have hurt things that much.
From a story-telling perspective, this ruins the whole damn movie. If there is no growth, it cannot be a satisfying story; change and development is one of the reasons we drawn any sense of completion from films and books.
Unfortunately, when you hamstring your main character’s ability to connect with your audience, it pretty much ruins any chance of allowing the audience to feel drawn in.
And in addition to ruining the character…it ruins the whole damn movie. Because while a movie can survive many things, it can’t survie a main character that sucks.
Perhaps I’m being a big hard in the movie, and on Spidey himself, but sadly, the fact of the matter is that there was nothing inspiring in the film. And being inspired is what it’s all about – it’s why we look to Superheroes, and to superhero movies.
Where Spider-man failed as a movie and where the character failed as a hero is where I want you to succeed. And where I personally want to succeed, I believe that you are inspired. And inspiring.
My belief is that you really do have it in you to be the best version of yourself. I truly believe that every single person that is reading this blog is actively trying to change and to evolve—physically, mentally, and emotionally.
In the movie of your life, being the same person in the beginning and the end is truly tragic, and it seems obvious to me that if you’re involved in any undertaking to change your body, you have no desire to be like this year’s version of Peter parker, no desire to be so constant and unchanging.
You don’t want to sneak around—you want to be bold, strong, fast, and capable.
I think that deep down that anyone who ever steps into the gym and attempts to change their body wants to become better (even if it’s just better looking); they want to improve their life.
And I believe that a big driving force of that is so that they can improve the lives of others.
And in short, that is heroic.
Comments for This Entry
Casey LittrellThe original trilogy did a much better job at portraying the characters. (Not just Peter but aunt may and uncle Ben) this new movie didn't even try. Which to me is the most important part of a superhero movie. Do what you want with the plot the hero and his influences must stay the same or you lose what was important about the hero.
February 24, 2013 at 8:19 am
Kristopher Hamiltonthis is the most facepalm worthy review of the movie I read from someone CLAIMING they know anything about Spider-Man -.-
November 21, 2012 at 1:58 am
Casey LittrellRead almost every comic in the main series and the alt. Ultimate spiderman series and Roman is on point with most of it and the movie was crap.
February 24, 2013 at 8:13 am
Sapphire RosePeter Parker is not accurately portrayed if he's either the dog-running-away-with-the-tail-between-his-legs kid or the gangly kid. Peter Parker, if you ever read the original comics, WAS bullied -- but he was not cowardly; in fact, he simply knew to walk away from a fight rather than continue or start one, thanks to the good raising of his Aunt May and Uncle Ben. And SuperHeroes don't get their powers by breaking and entering and then going on to do good deeds forevermore. Fore one thing, that isn't even anything close to realistic even for alien characters; and for another thing, that's completely anti-classic; and, finally -- you can say all you want that there's a grey area, but if you aren't lazy and you take the time to REALLY take a close look you'll find that there is no grey area: good is good, evil is evil, and that's that. To try and insinuate a "grey area" is just an excuse for a lack of caring/ability to do the right thing all the time. And to destroy that black-and-white picture of good-and-evil by making a grey area is to tear down the very core of a valiant and victorious SuperHero. There are plenty of comics out there that aren't SuperHero comics for people who don't like the concept of a character who is better than the reader. They don't need to go tearing down our hearts by destroying our SuperHeroes. If I wasn't attempting to hold myself up to better moral values, I would immediately search all those anti-SuperHero jerks who are turning SuperHeroes into something less than they really are (since they're in control right now because the SuperHeroes can't write their own stories) and tell them all to gtfo life.
October 16, 2012 at 5:04 am
Ian Thomas YoungI couldn't disagree more. You seem to be suggesting the actor, Andrew Garfield, was lazy in not building muscle for the role. That is very presumptuous of you. Actors do whatever the hell they're told to do when preparing for a role. He was instructed to practice gymnastics and parkour, not body-build. Obviously, the director wanted a lanky Spider-man. My four boys and two girls all saw the movie and loved it. The action scenes looked more authentic than those in the Sam Raimi Trilogy. Also, I disagree that Peter Parker didn't evolve. He went from being a selfish teen to wanting to correct his own mistakes and take responsibility and on to saving an entire city for Pete's sake (pun intended). It was awesome and well worth the ticket price.
August 25, 2012 at 6:24 am
Sean WalkerPersonally I've always felt I relate more to Venom anyway. ;-)
August 4, 2012 at 8:14 pm
nctjcHey. Just bought your superhero workout and I have a question about phase 1 rest time. After A! and A2, you say to rest 90 MINUTES, and then proceed to "B". Is this right? Or did you mean 90 SECONDS? Am hour and half seems like a very long time. I work out at midnight after work, and adding another hour and a half before bed time will be inconvenient to say the least. Let us know, if you could. Thanks for all your hard work!
July 23, 2012 at 3:32 pm
permatt71awesome post Roman...I was gonna make sure to see this movie as i am a big fan of spiderman...but im really not sure now..if it all goes as you say id just be very disappointed in the end...as for your closing thoughts , i do go in the gym for change..more strength better self confidence and as i learn i am capable of passing those taught lessons on to those who look to me for fitness advice...and if that makes me a hero in your eyes iam greatly humbled ....you sir are a hero
July 20, 2012 at 6:42 pm
Admiral_KomackThanks for the article. I'll wait to see this Spider-Man. I like Tobey McGuire more than Andrew Garfield in the role. Thanks for telling me this movie's version of Peter Parker getting his powers. I never liked the Tim Burton Batman movie because it was inferred that The Joker killed Thomas and Martha Wayne. Not true (It was Joe Chill). When I saw that, a part of my mind went "Yeah, whatever." What makes a hero? Making the tough decisions. Thank you.
July 20, 2012 at 1:45 am
John BalashI can definitely see why you're disappointed and thought some of those minor tweaks to the origin and mythos didn't help the story but weren't as problematic to me. What I liked better about this version, than Sam Raimi's, was that the Lizard also seemed like a monster much in the same way Peter does. I hated how the Green Goblin was sort of in a suit of armor rather than a juiced up nutjob like in the comics. I also thought Peter seemed more intelligent and geeky but not a bumbling idiot. I do think Peter's relationship with Aunt May could've been deepened but really like his scenes with Gwen Stacey. Overall I was pleased and look forward to the next (hopefully better) film.
July 17, 2012 at 7:01 pm
Understanding Heroism: A Look at Modern Mythology and the (Super) Appeal of Super Heroes Roman Fitness Systems[...] my last post, I talked about how the influence of super heroes on my development as a person, and much more importantly, gave a breakdown of the qualities of a [...]
July 17, 2012 at 4:41 pm
drarney1If you make the mistake of going to such a movie you will need a soldering iron and a place to plug it in so that you can ritualistically stick it into your navel so that the pain of the burn will distract you from the far worse pain of seeing and hearing such a terrible movie.
July 17, 2012 at 3:45 pm
John RomanielloWell. That's one way to put it.
July 17, 2012 at 4:15 pm
TheTylerCarterThe '90s Spider-Man cartoon was my favorite version of the character. There were lessons to be learned, he didn't look as lanky as he does in other incarnations, he's not stronger than all of the villains (Spider-Man used to be said to have the strength of 20 men, now they say he can press 10 tons, which is simply too much) which allows and requires him to defeat his foes primarily through intellectual means, and best of all, he's not a pushover when he's not wearing the spidey suit.
July 17, 2012 at 2:20 pm
Kellie DavisI chortled rather awkwardly when I saw Mom pulled out the clown candle again for year 6. I took my kids to see Spiderman 3D (By acident. Geesh, those 3D movies cost more than Disney tickets), and they both really enjoyed it. With that in mind, I think this was a super hero movie that works well for kids. the super hero movies that came out when we were kids did, too, but now they are so dark and gruesome. This one was really something we could enjoy together as a family. And I like Garfield better than McGuire. McGuire always irked me. Onto your real question... Super heroes are so important culturally because we face so many forces in this world that are far more powerful than we can comprehend. They answer all of the what ifs and make a us realize that we are capable of failing. It also makes us realize that we each have a little awesome power inside of us. Seeing and reading about these characters helps bring that out. I think as children we admired these heroes because they were so much like us on many levels. I definitely had Wonder woman undies that I darted around in. When I grew up, I transformed into my own super hero (just without powers beyond human capability). Being a super hero means my kids look up to me. Toward the end of kindergarten, my son came home with a picture he drew that read, "I love you because you write grate books." It's kind of crazy how what I do and who I am directly affects my children's interests. My son at the age of 6 wrote a perfect essay for his state test. He creates characters in stories and plot lines that most 3rd graders have trouble doing. My daughter has been writing and creating storybook characters since she could hold a pencil. She actually started writing her own novella at age 9. Many kids would rather be texting on iPhones by then. I don't force them to sit down and write essay or stories at home. I've just always centered their life around reading, which translated into a love of writing. It just so happens that their mother is a writer. :) When you watch those around you develop into greater humans because of your influence, there is nothing more super.
July 17, 2012 at 2:14 pm
John RomanielloGREAT. FUCKING. ANSWER. You pretty much summed up what I'm going to say in the follow-up.
July 17, 2012 at 4:16 pm
Kellie DavisJust saw this and am going to search for the follow up. Thanks for such an influential post.
September 17, 2012 at 3:29 pm
ClaireHi Roman, As a massive superhero geek (I wrote my dissertation on Captain America - bit of a first for the university I was at!) who goes to see every superhero film, even if I have to sit on my hands to prevent me from springing from my seat to yell "This is not accurate!" at the screen, I really like this review. I'm off to see the film tomorrow, but had already heard mixed reviews. Other reviews though haven't really touched on why superheroes are so important to us psychologically, so finding this was wonderful. From a personal perspective, I was disabled 2 years ago rather suddenly and horrifically. I got through it, and continue to get through this every day, by asking myself the very nerdy and probably amusing to others question of; "What would Batman do?". Often changed for what would Barbara Gordon do, what would Wonder Woman do, etc etc. If nothing else it takes you out of the situation and the answers can make me laugh with the more improbable characters! So for me, superheroes that are inspirational are very important, which is why I can get annoyed when retconning changes them too much. (Yes I know - geek.) Looking forward to your next post! Claire
July 17, 2012 at 1:10 pm
JOEI saw the movie in 4-D and it still sucked. cant imagine how bad it was in just plain 3-D or 2-D
July 17, 2012 at 11:16 am
JezHi Roman, I agree and disagree, (nothing like sitting on the fence). I really enjoyed the tweaks they made to the origin story, because with everyone being so familiar with it, what would be the point of sitting through it again thinking'when are we getting to the good stuff'. Also he was searching for answers about his father/parents, not just randomly snooping/breaking and entering, so I'll cut him some slack on that score too. The physique side of things I agree and disagree with. Andrew worked his ass off, but not to bulk up, instead he did a lot of gymnastics, parkour and athletic stuff as they wanted him to move and look more like a normal teenager would. Having said that, I'm a sucker for those 'wow' moments when you see this amazing transformation and wonder what your own superhero moment would look like. I think the snarkiness does change through the course of the film, but he doesn't suddenly 'become' Spiderman, rather you get the sense that he's started the transition towards becoming a true hero. However...............(the drama of the dotted line), the think that sucked for me the most, was the Lizard, (which as a fellow comic geek I'm surprised you didn't BTW). Where was the snout?????????? IMO making the Lizard's face more 'human' was a big mistake. Everything else was cool, but to morph every other part of his body and skeleton and leave that relatively alone, didn't work for me. Plus. he didn't hiss when he talked!!!! Gutted. I love comics, because they're comics. Too many attempts to make it a little more realistic (which for fucks sake defeats the point of a comic), can compromise the result. So, love your work, your blog and the fact that you're a geek about this stuff too, but with the exception of the Lizard's face, Spidey rocked for me. Jez
July 17, 2012 at 8:35 am
mofiYeap, no character evolution, no character evolution for any of the characters! The girl isn't chased and won over, she just falls into his lap without any effort at all. Her dad isn't won over as well by any means, he just suddenly changes without any effort. The whole movie was like someone just going through moves without any ambition or emotional effort. I am sorry to say but it was just trash.
July 17, 2012 at 8:32 am
Luis CarrilloI saw the movie and while i didn't hate, I did have better hopes for it I did have a feeling of emptiness while watching, and was waiting for the moment to get inspired which never happened....I was looking for that deep personal growth in spiderman but never found it, I saw this spiderman as a a guy who got powers just because and just had reckless fun with them, sure he was a good guy but i didn't feel like he truly took pride in them, which left me empty I found Connors character a lot more intriguing and inspiring, but then again I had an obsession as a kid with dinosaurs & the Hulk (whom I found the lizard similar to; strong, full of emotional roller coasters, not in control of his true self when transformed and of course green) Great write up On what a hero really is: Someone who inspires you to become a better version of yourself I ran about a mile around the mall to find an open crack so I could enter the movies & buy my ticket (lesson learned: get in early as they close the mall at 9 during weekdays) ...i might not have seen a great movie but At least Seeing Connors mutate into a giant lizard made me wanna train harder, so I guess that made it worthwhile Oh and btw who was the guy in the secret ending? (am not much of a comic freak, but my inner nerd wants to know)
July 17, 2012 at 8:15 am
Ace Kincaidjust a thought here, I could relate to superman just fine. especialy after seeing smallville. they really did a bang up job on developing clark kent into superman by having him discover his powers. he may have been born with them, but they manifested as he grew older, so he had to learn how to use the. he did go through the lessons of great power great responsibility. just sayin... ;-) and I will still go see the movie. I'm like you in that respect. :-)
July 17, 2012 at 6:40 am
Roman Fitness SystemsSmallville is a special case =)
July 17, 2012 at 6:57 am
AnonymousCAUTION, SPOILERS. I think a hero is someone who courageously overcomes obstacles, both internal and external, to do what is right or what must be done. I must, however, disagree with your movie review. The trad Peter Parker is a skinny science nerd with a lot of angsty drama, and so is this one. He stands up to a bully and gets the crap beaten out of him. While pursuing information about his parents' mysterious death, he secretly enters a room with GMO spiders and gets bitten. I think all of this makes him highly relateable. Who wouldn't pursue every possible avenue to gain information about the suspicious death of their parents, especially if it were being concealed? Next, as a result of his angsty tantrum over his dead dad, and his desire to get back at an overbearing sales clerk, his uncle ends up dead and he feels horribly responsible. We relate completely to all of those normal emotions. Initially, his desire for revenge drives him to hone his new powers but, by the end of the film, he has become more mature and uses his powers for much higher altruistic goals. He owns his responsibility for the consequences of revealing his father's work. He owns his responsibility to undo the damage, risking his life to save the city. How is this character not evolving? How is he not heroic? Managing our internal issues and owning our responsibilities are often the biggest obstacles we face. My kids and I have seen this movie 4 times and we love it. BTW, I agree with Rick Eames below. Spiders don't need muscles.
July 17, 2012 at 5:36 am
Matty C - Down OZ!Roman. Nice write up. I haven't seen it yet, so will leave the judgement to myself. However I've heard quite a few "I was let down" comments. But I'm not a comic geek so don't have as many feelings toward the success of the movie based on it's theoretical expectations. What I do like most about this post is the last few paragraphs. Everyone is their own hero in one way or another. Whether they decide to harness their own powers and help the greater good (being the community, their family/friends, or even themselves) is the battle we all face each day. Become the greatest, strongest, healthiest, fittest version of yourself!! And please get RID of that FB, Twitter popup overlay thingy on this page. It covered up the words down the centre of the page and kept following me as I scrolled down. Painful!
July 17, 2012 at 2:29 am
Marie-Claire GravelI haven't seen the movie and I'll see it eventually on DVD because I watch all superhero movies, good or bad. I really liked your blogpost. I found it to be positive and extremely inspiring in spite of the "negative" movie review. I took in everything from your cute childhood memories to the heroic conclusion of the post and it makes me want to do more and become the best person I can be: my own superhero self. A big thank you and double snuggles for that!
July 17, 2012 at 2:28 am
John RomanielloSuper snugz! But, yeah - I expect everyone to see it. It's a damn superhero movie. Even the bad ones are pretty good =) So glad you enjoyed it!
July 17, 2012 at 4:33 am
the4and5I'm totally with you. I've always been athletic, but for the past 6 years I've had a desk job. I really hadn't realized how out of shape I had gotten until I saw Casino Royal, and the work Daniel Craig put into looking the part of his James Bond. I wanted to be Batman and Wolverine when I was little, but I got sucked into the 'real world' and got plump. Getting back to a physical condition I had always aspired to has been an exercise in patience, but an awesome one!
July 17, 2012 at 1:30 am
John RomanielloThis is exactly what I'm talking about! I love how seeing those guys on screen inspired you.
July 17, 2012 at 4:37 am
Rosanne HeiligerThanks for the info on this movie, specially reasons#2 and #3, I won't waste my time watching it... ideals of heroism shape kids lives and should not be undermind...my son loved "superheros" when he was little, then moved on to "GI Joe" when he figured out "superheros" were imaginary and soldiers were "real"... he is now a Captain in the Army, a real American Hero....
July 17, 2012 at 1:11 am
Roman Fitness SystemsSo awesome to hear about your son. So proud to have him serving my country, and proud to have his mom as a reader; thank you for your comment, and raising an American Hero.
July 17, 2012 at 4:30 am
Rick EamesI would say that he did look the part in the way McFarlane drew him. Lankey. Remember, he has the strength of a spider -- why would he need muscles? It's always bugged me about Superman as well -- how in the hell would he GET muscles being already mega strong? He doesn't need to go lift weights, he's already stronger than anyone alive. Superhero's shouldn't look like body builders. I loved Alex Ross's version of Batman -- just bulky like Burt Lancaster.
July 17, 2012 at 12:56 am
Roman Fitness SystemsI don't think Superheroes should look like bodybuildrs, but they should look like athletes. At worst, Batman would like a running back. Regarding Spidey - I get the MacFarlane stuff; I just preferred the way he looked in other adaptations. As for gaining mass, while he might not be doing tradition weight training, he is still out there every day being active--he lifts things that are heavy by his standards. He'd gain some mass. Superman is blessed with simply being perfect, so let's not bother there.
July 17, 2012 at 4:28 am
BrianEverything you said about the movie is true. But I do like one thing more than the previous ones and that is the fact that spiderman made more quips and jokes like in the comics.
July 17, 2012 at 12:51 am
John RomanielloYes, absolutely true; that's a great point. In the comics, Spidey is a ball-buster, which I totally think Toby couldn't pull off. Garfield did a good job with that, at least.
July 17, 2012 at 4:38 am
Jonathan Angelilliawesome! Looking forward to the next post.
July 17, 2012 at 12:48 am
Lisa ScandaliatoQuestion for fitness guru... What do you think about Jillian Michael's 30 day shred video?
July 17, 2012 at 12:55 am
Weena Paulyhere are some heroes--- (my former employer)
July 17, 2012 at 12:59 am
July 17, 2012 at 12:59 am
Roman Fitness SystemsLisa Scandaliato Haven't checked it up, Lisa; sorry!
July 17, 2012 at 4:31 am
Alexander Juan Antonio CortesWait, did all of this stem off of my two comments??! jeezus
October 16, 2012 at 6:32 am
Alexander Juan Antonio CortesYou know I completely disagree. I felt that Garfield looking like a skinny kid trying to fight with outsized powers gave the film a greater degree of realism than the prior films. His snarky attitude at the beginning made him more relateable than the cowardly Parker portrayed in the prior films. And the lack of a great moral "lesson" was traded for struggle of trying to do what's right but not necessarily succeeding. This Spiderman was much more human than Raimis version, and I preferred it over the original trilogy. I can share the sentiment of wanting to see a "hero", but I think sometimes the heroic ideal is worth deconstructing into someone trying to do heroic acts, but still being very flawed as an idividual.
July 17, 2012 at 12:32 am
Roman Fitness SystemsThat's an interesting perspective. I'd need to think about that a bit. So, putting aside that you you don't agree with me in terms of the character stuff...what were your feelings on the writing and general story?
July 17, 2012 at 4:29 am
Alexander Juan Antonio CortesStory wise, I saw the Lizard and Parker as being somewhat similar characters on a superficial level. Highly intelligent, both handicapped (in different ways obviously), both lacking clear direction after the loss of their father/mentor figure (same person in this case). Both gained powers through less than decent methods. Parker used his in a vengeful fashion, Connors was driven to demagoguery by his. Parker had to stop Connors when Connors perverted the gift Parker gave him. In being needed to stop the Lizard, Parker had transcend using his powers for personal gain and use them for greater good. He did this not out some great moral compass, but out of guilt, and out of necessity of responsibility. He had to stop what he created. In assuming this responsibility, he had to grow up. He had to man up to he had done. Thats not particularly heroic, its required of every man. But he did it. It took heroism, deconstructed it, and made it human in scale, while still being a fun to watch comic book flick. The Gwen Stacy relationship I liked a lot. It was perfectly awkward and felt like high school (which was not that long ago for myself). I dug it. Stacy as a smart pretty girl who shares Parkers intelligence I found more attractive that Mary Janes wannebe actress pretty girl that for some reason has an unexplainable attraction to someone she has nothing in common with. And thats why I dug it
July 17, 2012 at 5:06 am
Noah Jesus MartinezPretty much this Spider man has always been the guy that even though has superpowers and he tries to be heroic he can't completely be this movie captured it much more than Raimi's version where as far as I remember he didn't fail a single moment in being heroic
October 13, 2012 at 7:16 pm
robThe point you make in your post really hits the nail on the head. A hero is most certainly inspiring. They are dedicated to being the best at what they do, while holding on to honest human morals. I add this because "villains" are also dedicated to being the best at what they do as well- just comprimise morals and ethics to get there. Generally speaking, this dedication leads to the positive benefits on the hero's physique. I guess that is why many athletes get put into peoples "hero" category. ESPN the bodies issue and other forums highlight the beautiful physiques of olympians. Their dedication to their craft is not only show in their success in their chosen events, but they are often extremely sexy. In fact, just before reading this post i was looking at a yahoo post on the most beautiful us women olympians. Not just young women, but older women that are still crushing younger women in their sport with amazing bodies is purely inspirational. It makes sense to me that people who are physically fit tend to have an easier time obtaining a job and actually earn more money. That work ethic in the gym generally translates to stronger work ethic in general which generally leads to better productivity. Employers desire a strong work ethic (obviously), and just by shaking your hand they already believe that you have a strong work ethic just because you appear to work out. Makes sense to me! By this definition, I would consider you Roman, a hero. You seem dedicated to being the best of the best and are extremely successful in everything you have done. Your Roman Empire is indicative of this. You became an extremely successful trainer, to which you even convinced your mother was a "career" when she doubted anyone could actually make a living transforming people into their own hero. To get a physique each person desires takes extreme dedication in everything you do. In every venture you have dedicated yourself to you have been successful. Not only successful but among the best of the best. You have now dedicated yourself to writing, and your work is pretty brilliant. A display of information and humor that few people are able to accomplish can turn any subject matter entertaining and comprehendible.Not only that, you have done all of that while maintaining your integrity and continue to be a good human being. All this is inspiring to me. To that, I say thank you. I have many heros (first and foremost my father) and consider you among them.
July 17, 2012 at 12:20 am
John RomanielloI really can't thank you enough for this comment, Rob. Thank you very, very much.
July 17, 2012 at 4:45 am
SamMicky he always had the machines on his wrists. Only in 1 spin off comic series did he have the web from his hands. Theres a lot of jokes throughout the comic about how his web slingers are empty at very inconvenient times.
July 17, 2012 at 12:02 am
John RomanielloYup x2
July 17, 2012 at 4:40 am
Patrickwas it really that hyped up, though? i feel like most of the talk about it was questioning why another reboot was being made so soon after the last movies. i wasn't interested in it to begin with. the spider-man movies are my least favorite of all the marvel films.
July 17, 2012 at 12:01 am
Laura MossFirst off, great freggin artical, Roman. Superheroes are meant to inspire! As an artist, who sometimes has to design character concepts, the most important trait a superhero must have is relate ability and a struggle. You cant be just be a bad ass superhero and have had a perfect life?! Makes no sense. They have to have had some part of a screwed up past to give them power and the right to kick ass as good as they do! Their struggle is what gives them their awesomeness!!
July 16, 2012 at 11:38 pm
MickyFunny I was jus talking about this...this movie sucked big time no natural spider webs cumming out of his hand (stupid machine he built didn't work for me), his girl knows his identity and he is worse actor i've seen in years Tobey would piss himself watching this....good article sir
July 16, 2012 at 11:27 pm
John RomanielloAs Sam pointed out, in the comics, Spidey'd webs were not organic, but rather mechanical. The kid WAS a genius, after all.
July 17, 2012 at 4:44 am
Dean PhillipsI loved spiderman so much Made some asskicking points but I thought the film was awesome, maybe because I only watched the cartoon as a kid or due to Emma stone being in the film...however I am hyped up for dark knight rises and unrelated anchor man 2
July 16, 2012 at 11:22 pm
John RomanielloHaha, well, no complaints about Emma Stone. That much, I appreciated.
July 17, 2012 at 4:40 am
Jon HancockA hero always does the right thing even when its not popular. Not to mention you also have to get the hot girl or they will revoke your super hero privileges card. BTW Thank you, I thought the same thing about Spiderman and was wishing I had not spent $18 to see it in IMAX 3D. If Batman is a let down I may cry. :)
July 16, 2012 at 11:12 pm
Roman Fitness SystemsI don't imagine Dark Knight Rises being a let down, but as the most anticipated moving in quite some time, it could be hard to live up to the hype. I'll reserve jugement.
July 17, 2012 at 4:31 am
Dansince spiderman was much less than amazing, are you looking forward to the dark knight rises?
July 16, 2012 at 11:00 pm
John RomanielloYes, indeed! Can't wait to see it. Already have tickets for shows on consecutive days. (Yeah. I'm a super-geek.)
July 17, 2012 at 4:41 am
Joshua CarterMay the Dark Knight Rises save you / us.
July 16, 2012 at 10:58 pm